A Survey of Biological Factors Affecting the Determination of the Postmortem Interval

Richard Bautista

Abstract


Estimating the time since death, or postmortem interval (PMI), is an important component of medicolegal investigations. Methods for estimating PMI date as far back as ancient Egypt. Advances in scientific knowledge have provided additional tools for estimating PMI. A survey of available literature and lectures was conducted to identify biological factors that affect PMI estimation and how they are assessed. The results of this survey showed that a high degree of variability exits within each method that reduces the accuracy of their findings. However, when taken in context with each other and used in conjunction with non-scientific evidence, such as witness statements, PMI estimations can help narrow the range of the PMI to a useful degree.


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